By Adam Peace
On February 9 the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Canada played host to an evening of fiercely competitive hockey in celebration of their Diplomatic Service Day in Ottawa.
The Russian Embassy fielded two teams of their renowned “Red Machine” to play against the Esprit de Corps “Commando Lites” in the first game and the “Commandos” versus the Red Machine All-Stars in the second game of this double header.
The games were played at the Jim Durrell Arena on a wintry Friday afternoon with the Russians dressing so many players for both games that there wasn’t enough room on their bench to squeeze in a photographer.
For the first game both sides played with grit and determination. In the first period goals were scored on both sides – first by Commando Lite #3 Josée Lamothe.
However, the Russians would answer back quickly with a goal from #68 Sergey Nekrasov. With slightly more than four minutes to go in the second period, a Red Machine goal by # 74 Yaroslav Zemlyachenko put the Ruskies up 2-1. It was with that slim Russian lead that they started the third period.
Although playing aggressively, the Commando Lites allowed another goal, this time scored by #12 Denis Nayandin. With that third marker, the game was just out of reach for the Commando Lites. Final score 3-1 in favor of the Red Machine.
The start of the second match between the Commandos and Red Machine All-Stars was a hard fought and well skated affair with the first period ending in a 0-0 tie. Around half way through the second period, Russian sniper #13 Evgeniy Petrenko managed to pot a sneaky low wrist shot between the legs of Commando goalie #60 Scott Hopper. The score would not change after two periods – Russians were leading 1-0 heading into the third frame.
Midway into the third, Red Machine player #96 Ramil Chagaliev scored to set the lead at 2-0. A minute later the Russians netted another goal, this time by #28 Maxim Chipizubov.
That is when the Commando MVP #77 Ryan Lediett decided to turn up the heat and with 3:18m left he sped up ice with the puck, dangled through the Russian defenders, and deked the goalie off his keister. Lediett’s goal cut the Russian lead to just two, and effectively hushed the crowd of predominantly Russian fans. The comeback for the Commandos proved to be a case of too little, too late. The Russians managed to score their fourth goal with just over a minute left to play, and that is how the game would end: 4-1 for the Red Machine All Stars. The crowd went nuts.
A well-attended reception took place after the game where the trophy was presented to Russian Ambassador Alexander Darichev by Scott Taylor of Esprit de Corps Magazine.
The top players were announced for both teams (two for the Russians) #12 Denis Nayandin and #80 Andrey Novikov and Commando powerhouse #77 Ryan Lediett. In addition, a new category, Dirtiest Player, was awarded to #91 Andrey Pisarenko of the Red Machine.
Esprit de Corps wants to give a huge thanks to our Russian comrades for hosting such a wonderful post-game event, complete with mountains of food and refreshments for all of the invited guests.
For more photos go to: http://www.richardlawrencephotography.ca/clients/edec/hockey20180209/